Cable and Wireless Communications of the United Kingdom has signed up with eCharge Corp. for processing services.

The arrangement would let Cable and Wireless include the cost of Internet services on its telephone bills.

Customers in the United Kingdom typically dial a local phone number for Internet access and then pay for content or merchandise by credit card or pre-arranged subscription.

The deal with eCharge is "an important step forward in developing consumer confidence in Web commerce, creating new commercial opportunities, and, for the first time, generating revenue from Internet transactions for both content and network providers," said Mark Heraghty, managing director of Cable and Wireless' international and partner services division.

Ron Erickson, chief executive officer of Seattle-based eCharge, said, "The combination of our Internet Payment Service and the Cable and Wireless global reach and progressive stance will greatly benefit Internet consumers and merchants alike."

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